This tour takes you from downtown Toronto to the heart of Quebec—providing a hatrick of wildlife, nature, and culture happenings along the way. Begin your journey in Toronto after touring microbreweries, modern museums, and boutique shops you’ll cruise the 401 highway by car to Ottawa to witness a Changing of the Guard at Parliament Hill. Moving north is moving deeper into Canada. In the province of Quebec where the Saint Lawrence River flows, kayak across clear waters where the snowy owl swoops above. Enjoy a hike up Chic-Choc Mountain after walking the cobbled laneways of Quebec City.
Begin in Toronto and head up the CN Tower to take in views of the skyline before heading downtown to The Distillery District for a spot of tapas and a cheeky craft ale. After a quick peek at some of the artisan boutiques on Bloor Street, swing by the Royal Ontario Museum to enjoy an art deco exterior and over 6 million paintings.
Drive east to Ottawa, Canada’s capital that is home to seven national museums. Head to Parliament Hill and witness a daily summer tradition, the Changing of the Guard. The UNESCO Rideau Canal winds perfectly through the heart of the city and is skated in winter. After kayaking down the Ottawa River, treat yourself to a glutinous dish of poutine, followed by maple syrup poured over butter tarts—glorious.
In the province of Quebec is Saint-Alexis-des-Monts. Drive north to this parish village and begin a day with an unforgettable hike through woodland, or perhaps ride by horse—either way, be on the lookout for a moose or two as you do. Pause for lunch at one of several restaurants for a local plate of prime veal or duck breast. Hop in a canoe and go for a paddle along Riviere Sacacomie.
4. Quebec City
Drive to Quebec City and walk cobbled streets encased by rampart walls. In Old Town, stroll Rue de Petit Champlain, North America’s oldest street also hosts theatre at Theatre Petit Champlain. Stop off at boutique stores with French shuttered windows and muraled walls. After coffee and Tourtière, a meat pie dish, served up in a backstreet bistro, visit the most photographed hotel in the world, Château Frontenac. Its five stone wings will mesmerize you.
5. La Malbaie
At La Malbaie the views of the Saint Lawrence River alone are worth your time. But if gazing isn’t your thing, hiking through Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie National Park won’t feel quite as lengthy as its name. You may spot a great blue heron as you trek through green wilderness. A kayak followed by evening camp are excellent options in this natural wonderland.
On the banks of the Saint Lawrence River is Rimouski, a town with a large student population, it has a youthful vibe and art and culture festivals throughout the year. Spend a morning learning of a rich maritime history at Foghorn Shed or Lightkeeper’s House, before hopping aboard the Ondondaga to learn of submarine history. A fan of heights? Visit Hell’s Gate Canyon and walk above the trees on a suspension bridge.
Head to the Gaspé Peninsula and the town of Bonaventure, the perfect spot to relax after a day on the road. Settle in and head out to the Bonaventure River for a spot of salmon fishing before taking a trip to a Bioparc full of wildlife such as the Canadian lynx, bobcat, and brook trout. Kayaking through clear waters is as much a must as a dip in the waters of Le Malin.
You’ll love the city of Percé, which is dominated by the 88-metre limestone stack Rocher Percé that stands in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence just off the coast. Take a boat tour around the rock, where you can see a peculiar arch on its eastern peak, before heading out to Bonaventure Island. Listen to the calls of puffins that call this island home. End your day with a platter of seafood by the water or the classic, cod and chips.
Next up is Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, a small town in Quebec that neighbours Chic-Choc Mountains. A fabulous place to ski, hike or bike move through nature inhaling the scent of fir yellow birch trees. At Gaspésie National Park come close to the protected caribou, moose, and sweeping coastal views that make this province so beautiful.
Ready for some more of the great outdoors? That’s good because the city of Rivière-du-Loup is a feast of natural wonders that includes a 33-metre waterfall found within Parc de Chutes. Trails lead to a heritage orchard and hydroelectric power station that’s fully operational. A boat cruise caps off a day of beauty and serenity in the province of Quebec.
Montreal rivals any city for its wealth of culture with over 100 food, music, and art festivals a year. But that’s far from all. Climb Mount Royal to see this port-city from a 235-metre vantage point. The size of 15 double decker buses, Notre-Dame de Montreal is a sight to see on Saint Laurent Boulevard. Enjoy an evening of drag at Cabaret Mado, and after indulge in a local dish of poutine. We recommend the classic cheese with gravy.
Kingston, founded in 1673, is the final stop on your boundless tour of Canada. Here, food, music, and history are celebrated with fervour. Visit Fort Henry, a military fort that was a gateway to the Saint Lawrence River. At Kingston Public Market feast on barbecue pork or cake dripping in maple syrup. End with an evening of song at a traditional pub where craft ale flows, and fiddles play late into the night.
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